Chicken Gnocchi Soup

In less than an hour, you can make a special, one-of-a-kind soup that's great for weekdays or even dinner parties.

Southern Living Chicken Gnocchi Soup two servings in bowls with extra basil and pepper alongside

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

Chicken gnocchi soup is a bowl of steaming, creamy comfort food. Restaurants like Olive Garden have made this soup style famous, but home cooks have perfected it. We tasked the Southern Living Test Kitchen with making a version of this classic soup that was so easy you couldn't come up with an excuse to not make it. They did just that.

What You'll Need To Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Besides a few pantry staples, like olive oil, salt, and pepper, you'll need these ingredients for chicken gnocchi soup:

  • Carrots, celery, garlic and onions: These are the "aromatics" of the soup. They form the backbone of flavor, lending savory vegetable flavors. They also add bulk to the soup once they're softened and silky.
  • Chicken broth: You'll need to add lots of liquid to make this vegetable-heavy dish a soup, so we chose chicken broth. If you wanted to leave out the rotisserie chicken, you could make this a vegetarian dish with vegetable broth.
  • Rotisserie chicken: Leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken is a quick and easy shortcut for this weeknight meal. You'll only need two cups, so use any leftovers in these recipes that use rotisserie chicken.
  • Gnocchi: Gnocchi are mini potato dumplings. They turn fluffy and tender when cooked, and they can be found in the dried pasta aisle of the grocery store.
  • Half-and-half: This a cream and milk combination. We like it over all cream because it's not too thick, but it does add body to the soup, where milk alone is usually too thin.
  • Spinach: Fresh baby spinach wilts into silky strands in this soup. You could use other greens like kale, but they'll need more time to cook and tenderize.
  • Sherry vinegar: A hint of brightness balances the soup's rich flavors.
  • Basil: For color and a hint of herb, finish the soup with basil just before serving.
Southern Living Chicken Gnocchi Soup ingredients

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

What are gnocchi?

Gnocchi are Italian dumplings. They're typically made with mashed potatoes, but you can also use cornmeal or polenta in addition to flour, egg, and salt. Once cooked, they turn fluffy, tender, and soft. They make a great soup addition because they can cook in the soup while it simmers, and they soak up the soup flavors for an extra comforting bite.

How To Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup

The full recipe below, but this 50-minute soup boils down (get it?) to just three easy steps:

First, you're going to sauté the vegetables (onions, celery, and carrots) and garlic until they're tender. Once tender, you'll add the chicken broth, shredded chicken, and salt and pepper. This will simmer for a bit to infuse the chicken and broth with the flavors of the aromatics.

Second, you'll add the gnocchi and half-and-half. Gnocchi cook quickly—faster than traditional pasta anyway. In about five to six minutes, the gnocchi will be tender and soft. Once they are done (they'll be floating to the top of the pan), add the spinach. It will will wilt into silky strands in less than a minute.

To finish the soup, you'll add the splash of vinegar, stir, and then spoon the soup into bowls before topping with basil.

Storage and Freezing

If you have leftover chicken gnocchi soup, you can save it in an airtight container up to three days in the refrigerator.

You can freeze leftover soup, too, though we should warn you we don't love freezing soups made with dairy. Once frozen, the dairy will change texture, which can affect the soup. So if you want to make this ahead, we recommend not adding the half-and-half until you're warming the soup on the oven in the future.


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium [8 oz.] onion)

  • 1 cup chopped carrots (from 3 peeled carrots)

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (from 3 large [1 oz. each] stalks)

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 1/2 Tbsp.)

  • 6 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups coarsely shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 (16-oz.) pkg. potato gnocchi

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach

  • 1 Tbsp. aged sherry vinegar

  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish


  1. Start the soup:

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Southern Living Chicken Gnocchi Soup cooking the vegetables

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Stir in chicken broth, rotisserie chicken, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring often, until flavors meld, about 20 minutes. 

    Southern Living Chicken Gnocchi Soup adding the chicken and broth

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  2. Add the gnocchi:

    Add gnocchi and half-and-half, stirring to combine. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi is hot throughout, about 6 minutes. Add spinach and sherry vinegar, stirring to wilt spinach.

    Southern Living Chicken Gnocchi Soup adding the spinach to the soup

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Divide evenly among 6 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve immediately. 

    Southern Living Chicken Gnocchi Soup finished soup ready to serve

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you have to cook gnocchi before you add it to soup?

    No, you do not have to cook gnocchi before putting it in a soup. As long as the soup is hot and simmering, the dumplings will cook in about five to six minutes in the soup.

  • How do you keep gnocchi from getting soggy in soup?

    Add gnocchi toward the end of the cooking process to keep them from becoming soggy and mushy. The potato dumplings don't take long to cook, and they absorb a lot of moisture as they sit. So limiting their time in the soup will stop any sogginess.

  • How do you know when gnocchi is done?

    Gnocchi, like ravioli, will float to the top of pot when they're done. It doesn't take long for them to cook, just five to six minutes. To be extra sure the gnocchi are cooked, you can slice one open, and if it's soft and warm throughout, they're done.

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